Does it ever seem to you that people that ignore God do not have any consequences? It seems that for most people on earth that the way they ignore God has no consequences and in fact their lives even seem to be better in some regards. The Psalmist felt the same way and wrote down what all of us sometimes think.
Psalm 73:1-13 Truly God is good to Israel, to those who are pure in heart. 2 But as for me, my feet had almost stumbled, my steps had nearly slipped. 3 For I was envious of the arrogant when I saw the prosperity of the wicked. 4 For they have no pangs until death; their bodies are fat and sleek.5 They are not in trouble as others are; they are not stricken like the rest of mankind. 6 Therefore pride is their necklace; violence covers them as a garment. 7 Their eyes swell out through fatness; their hearts overflow with follies. 8 They scoff and speak with malice; loftily they threaten oppression.9 They set their mouths against the heavens, and their tongue struts through the earth. 10 Therefore his people turn back to them, and find no fault in them.[a] 11 And they say, “How can God know? Is there knowledge in the Most High?”12 Behold, these are the wicked; always at ease, they increase in riches. 13 All in vain have I kept my heart clean and washed my hands in innocence.
We may wonder if there are any consequences for those who ignore God Today we will see that there are consequences for those who ignore God and what happens to people when they mock God by relying on their own power and resources.
Isaiah 22:1-4 The oracle concerning the valley of vision. What do you mean that you have gone up, all of you, to the housetops, 2 you who are full of shoutings, tumultuous city, exultant town? Your slain are not slain with the sword or dead in battle. 3 All your leaders have fled together; without the bow they were captured. All of you who were found were captured, though they had fled far away. 4 Therefore I said: “Look away from me; let me weep bitter tears; do not labor to comfort me concerning the destruction of the daughter of my people.”
1) Those who ignore God ignore their future destruction
“What do you mean you have gone up?” Isaiah was questioning what they were doing. The Vision Isaiah had is a vision about Judah and how they will be treated the same as other nations if they continue to ignore God. The people did not believe God would treat them like the other nations and it was an abuse of the grace God had shown them. God is a loving and Graceful God but He is also a God of Justice and when people continue to ignore Him then His justice will hold people accountable for their actions. The people are literally partying and on their rooftops. The rooftops were cooler so people would hold functions on them and so this verse shows the people in a party atmosphere when they should have been in a mourning atmosphere. There was so much commotion because either they thought that the victory was theirs because they had successfully finished all their war preparations or because they didn’t care anymore. They had water, food and rebuilt walls and they arrogantly were forgetting God who was the one who could protect them.
Isaiah mourned while the rest of the city partied because he knew their fate if they would not repent. In his vision Isaiah saw leaders being captured and people destroyed. The people could not understand why Isaiah was upset but Isaiah saw that they had no concern for others and on top of that these people thought they were in good standing with God. The people were blind to the destruction that faced them and Isaiah cared more for them then they cared for themselves.
“Daughter of my people” is a very affectionate term showing that Isaiah loved the people who were rebelling against God and an example we must copy in a world that is turning its back on God. We cannot lose our love for people no matter how they act because of the destruction they will face if they do not turn to God.
Isaiah 22:5-8 For the Lord God of hosts has a day of tumult and trampling and confusion in the valley of vision, a battering down of walls and a shouting to the mountains. 6 And Elam bore the quiver with chariots and horsemen, and Kir uncovered the shield. 7 Your choicest valleys were full of chariots, and the horsemen took their stand at the gates. 8 He has taken away the covering of Judah. In that day you looked to the weapons of the House of the Forest,
2) Those who ignore God lose out on His protection
“He has taken away the covering of Judah” The events that will take place will be directed by God as punishment for their rebelliousness. The prophet compares what was happening in Judah to events expected on the Day of the Lord which is known at the last days. Verse eight says God has removed His hand of protection because they kept looking to their own resources and abilities instead of turning to Him and since they put their hope in themselves, God allowed them to rely on themselves and suffer the consequences.
In the Old Covenant or Mosaic Covenant there was a strong correlation between obedience and God’s protection (Exodus 19-24) so when the people disobeyed God would remove His protection. In today’s New Covenant through Jesus Christ everything God tells us to do is for our benefit and protection but that does not mean we will not suffer trials and tribulations. People take Old Covenant concepts and believe that they apply to us today and although this is partially true from the concept of breaking earthly laws and suffering it does not mean you will not suffer because you do everything right. (See John 16:33) We can suffer harm even if we are obedient and the book of James tells us to walk through this with our eyes on God knowing that He is using it somehow. One of the fruits of the Spirit is self-control (Galatians 5:22-23) and when a car is out of control it can cause a lot of damage and the same is true if you have an area of your life that is out of control. When you allow an area of your life to be out of control whether that is eating or drinking alcohol or anything else there are consequences you will face. 1 Corinthians 6:12 says we should not allow anything to master us yet many people are mastered everyday by food, drugs and alcohol and God will allow us to suffer the consequences of our sins.
Galatians 6:7 Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap.
Isaiah sees the future and what He sees is what the people will go through as they ignore God which he describes as Tumult as the people will lose their ability to think clearly and Treading Down as the enemy forces bring them under their control and Confusion as they will lack direction. If you wonder why our world acts the way it does it is because they are continually ignoring God and so they are not thinking clearly, being destroyed by the enemy and are confused.
Isaiah 22:9-11 and you saw that the breaches of the city of David were many. You collected the waters of the lower pool, 10 and you counted the houses of Jerusalem, and you broke down the houses to fortify the wall. 11 You made a reservoir between the two walls for the water of the old pool. But you did not look to him who did it, or see him who planned it long ago.
3) Those who Ignore God rely on themselves for salvation
“You did not regard Him who made it” Everything about their lives was about their own ability and effort while not even acknowledging God was the one who created the very things they were relying on. “You looked to the weapons” You fixed the breaches in the wall You stored up water is God’s way of saying that their focus was on all of their abilities and not even the one who gave them the abilities in the first place.
Isaiah 44:24 Thus says the Lord, your Redeemer, who formed you from the womb: “I am the Lord, who made all things, who alone stretched out the heavens, who spread out the earth by myself,
We all tend to ignore God while using His resources just like they were focused on self instead of focused on God. There is nothing wrong with the preparations they made but they made them without taking God into consideration. There is nothing wrong with making plans and setting goals but you have to do them with God in mind and also while seeking His direction and guidance.
Proverbs 3:5-6 Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on
your own understanding.
6 In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.
The people focused on their own wisdom instead of the knowledge of God and walking by faith means that we trust God even when it does not make sense
Isaiah 22:12-14 In that day the Lord God of hosts called for weeping and mourning, for baldness and wearing sackcloth; 13 and behold, joy and gladness, killing oxen and slaughtering sheep, eating flesh and drinking wine. “Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die.” 14 The Lord of hosts has revealed himself in my ears: “Surely this iniquity will not be atoned for you until you die,” says the Lord God of hosts.
4) Those who Ignore God are still called by Him
“The Lord of Host has called”. God was asking them to call out to Him for help by mourning over their sin. Even with all of their rejection of God He was still wanting them to repent and come back to Him.
2 Peter 3:9 The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you,[a] not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.
It is humbling recognizing that you cannot handle the events of life and it is humbling realizing that salvation is a free gift that has nothing to do with you or your works. (Ephesians 2:8-9) But instead of turning to God they decided if they are going to die then they might as well make the most of it and party it away. Instead of saving the food because their supply lines were cut off they splurged like gluttons showing just how confused their minds had become. Their behavior made no sense for the situation they faced because they had become overconfident in their own preparations or simply did not care anymore. When they should have been sacrificing for others to help win the battle, they were focused on themselves and satisfying their own appetites and ignoring God in the process.
“But Yahweh has revealed Himself” You cannot blame God if you choose not to accept His call because God makes it known to everyone somehow that He exist and that He longs for a relationship with you.
Romans 1:18-19 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. 19 For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them.
God has given enough to people in order to call out to Him although that does not mean that we can neglect our duty of going and telling others about Him.
5) Those who Ignore God will not have their sins forgiven
The people at this point would still be able to repent but if they would not recognize their sin and seek God for forgiveness there was no hope for them. Our sins have separated us from God (Romans 5:10; 2 Corinthians 5:18-20; 2 Thessalonians 1:9-10) and the only way we can be back in a right relationship with God is to have them forgiven. The sin that will not be atoned for is the sin that they did not take their eyes off themselves and put them on God. The people thought that it was by their own actions that they could be saved but Isaiah reminds them that all the actions they do until they die will not be enough to pay for their sin. Jesus said that people who do not believe in Him will die in their sins as well because they try and earn salvation by their own works and righteousness.
John 8:24 I told you that you would die in your sins, for unless you believe that I am he you will die in your sins.”
To die in your sins means to take the penalty and consequences of your sins with you when you die. You have to believe in Jesus Christ and that He is God who came to deliver us from the penalty of death which is death and separation from Him. (Romans 6:23)
Mark 3:28-29 “Truly, I say to you, all sins will be forgiven the children of man, and whatever blasphemies they utter, 29 but whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit never has forgiveness, but is guilty of an eternal sin”—
To blasphemy the Holy Spirit means that you ignore his call of turning from sin (John 16:8) and giving your life to Jesus Christ. To ignore the Holy Spirit and to reject the free gift of salvation is the unpardonable sin because it only through believing in Christ that one can be forgiven.